EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.
With just one day to go before the election, a new poll of potential voters in the upcoming Massachusetts Senate race has it all tied up between Attorney General Martha Coakley and state senator Scott Brown.
Forty-eight percent of respondents said they would vote for both candidates, according to a just released Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of 500 commonwealth voters. That number is certainly music to the Coakley campaign's ears, as it comes just half a day after another poll put the race at a 51-46 percent margin in Brown's favor.
Special elections are notoriously hard to predict. And, come Wednesday, one or more polling firm is going to have to deal with a bit of egg on its face. But if the data points are to be believed it now seems like a fair assumption that Coakley is trending upwards in the polls. Internally, a source confirms that the Attorney General has polling data that puts her up two percentage points over Brown - compared to the two-percentage point deficit she faced a few days ago.
Meanwhile, Nate Silver, a highly respected student of public opinion, took to his site, fivethirtyeight.com on Monday to lay out the case that Coakley's prospects are, indeed, improving.
The late stage conventional wisdom of Brown bursting down the finish line to victory may, in the end, be a bit misplaced - with the nationalization of the race, the scurrilous attack ads, and the drop-in visit by President Obama having an effect on voter perceptions.
Still, the story line remains just how hard it has become for the Democratic Party to hold on to a seat that some regarded as a Democratic birthright. According to the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, the race remains divided on gender line, with Brown winning males by a margin of 54-41 percent and Coakley winning females by a margin of 55-42 percent. Where the attorney general is getting killed is with Independents, who favor Brown by a margin of 65 to 29 percent of the vote.